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Insects can halve wind-turbine power

Naturevolume 412pages4142 (2001) | Download Citation



For no apparent reason, the power of wind turbines operating in high winds may drop, causing production losses of up to 25 per cent1. Here we use a new flow-visualization technique to analyse airflow separation over the blades and find that insects caught on the leading edges in earlier low-wind periods are to blame. These potentially catastrophic power glitches can be prevented simply by cleaning the blades.

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    Snel, H. et al. Progress in the Joule Project: Multiple Stall Levels (EUWEC Proc., Nice, 1999).

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    Bak, C. et al. Wind Energ. 2, 195–210 (1999).

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    Corten, G. P. Insects Cause Double Stall (13th IEA Expert Meeting on the Aerodynamics of Wind Turbines, Stockholm, 1999).

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    Corten, G. P. Flow Separation on Wind Turbine Blades. Thesis, Univ. Utrecht (2001).

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  1. Unit of Wind Energy, Energy Centre of The Netherlands, PO Box 1, Petten, 1755 ZG, The Netherlands

    • Gustave P. Corten
  2. NEG Micon A/S, Alsvej 21, Randers, 8900, Denmark

    • Herman F. Veldkamp


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Correspondence to Gustave P. Corten.

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